It’s over …yet it’s just begun. I refer to the Midwest LSA Expo, which, you might say, kicks off the LSA show season including light kits and ultralights in addition to LSA. Midwest runs in the first weekend in September, followed by Copperstate in October, followed by DeLand in November, and climaxing with the granddaddy of these shows, Sebring, in January.
Copperstate has more than LSA and light kits but it has a focus on those aircraft. The organizers enjoy such light recreational flying machines so they focus on this segment. That show is coming soon. DeLand will later host the second-annual event. Sebring will be hosting its 14th event. The last is the largest and best established of these and, indeed, has been the wellspring from which the others of these evolved …except for Copperstate, which will celebrate its 45th year in 2017 — impressive!
All these events have been called small-venue airshows but they aren’t really airshows. They are trade shows; no aerial acrobatics happen except infrequently. Their purpose: to showcase many of the great choices light aircraft buyers have and — perhaps most importantly! — to allow you to take demo flights in as many as you like.
We promote our PlaneFinder 2.0 as a way to narrow your best choices to a few airplanes but to make a smart purchase decision you need to speak to the supplier/manufacturer, examine the aircraft carefully, see how you fit insidem,and, best of all — fly your best picks. Midwest, Copperstate, DeLand, and Sebring offer some the very best places to check all those boxes according to many who attend.
Ninth Annual Midwest LSA Expo 2017
Mount Vernon Airport (KMVN) airport manager, Chris Collins, is a key reason why Midwest has firmly anchored itself in the aviation event universe. Chris works very hard to assure all vendors are made to feel wanted and welcome. Attendees to the show see his work and that of his volunteers. The airport terminal facility is excellent with indoor exhibits housed inside right where you enter. The restaurant serves good food all day and Chris always arranges for some special food service. Even the bathrooms are indoors and clean, just like home.
In a phrase, what’s not to like?
These events are not known for having immense crowds but all of those attending clearly want to be present and came knowing they’ll find things they like. This is not the curious, non-buying public (though some of them attend, too). Mostly, this is a dedicated assemblage of light aircraft vendors and light aircraft enthusiasts. Perfect!
Manager Chris summed up the event nicely and I present all his words below just as he wrote them:
“I just wanted to send a quick follow up on the 2017 Midwest LSA Expo. For those that made the trip to Mt. Vernon, Illinois – Thank You! There were many positives:
- Three days of the most beautiful weather an event host could ask for! Clear skies, light winds, and comfortable temperatures translated to an incredible amount of aircraft operations — a large percentage being demo flights.
- Relevant aviation topics covered by the finest in the industry made for packed forums/seminars. Thank you Carol Para at the Illinois Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics for managing this segment of the event.
- Swift Fuels hit a home run! Thank you Brian Stirm for keeping us supplied. We sold double the amount of MoGas as previous years.
- Camping was a hit! The number of people taking advantage of the free camping continues to grow. Beautiful scenery, numerous electrical hookups, showers, and lots of room combined for an overall positive package. The nights featured temperatures in the 50s and full moons!
- Airport View launched on an industry wide scale at Midwest LSA Expo. Check it out at www.AirportView.net. Thank you Dreams Come True Aviation, Aviation Insurance Resources, Matco Wheels and Brakes, and Full Torque Propellers for your partnership! Thank you Jacob Peed for using Midwest LSA Expo as an example!
- The Global War on Terror Traveling Wall of Remembrance was erected on Saturday morning. Although not industry related, the Wall reminded us of the lives lost (military and civilian) in the war we will most likely be fighting the rest of our lives.
- Patch Lee and Grandma Deb’s BBQ kept the crowd on site until after 6:00 p.m. on Thursday. The opening day hospitality party was one for the Midwest LSA Expo record books. Maybe it was the Patch Lee concert, maybe it was the food, maybe it was the great weather – something kept the crowd on site longer than previous parties.
- Demonstration Flights, Demonstration Flights, Demonstration Flights! I know I mentioned this in point #1, but this is what Midwest LSA Expo is all about. Most exhibitors spent a large amount of time in the air. It is the hope of all of us at Midwest LSA Expo that some of these demonstration flights will produce fruit somewhere in the immediate future.
“For those that missed the event, there is always next year. Mark your calendars for the 10th Annual Midwest LSA Expo scheduled for Thursday, September 6 – 8th, 2018. Since this will be the 10th Anniversary of the event, there will be some additional promotion.
“One thing that will not change is the focus of the event — Demonstration Flights! Uninterrupted time with exhibitors and demonstration flights will always be the focus of Midwest LSA Expo.
“See you in 2018,” finished Chris!
With deep regrets, I had to miss this year’s Midwest as I stayed home to cope with the arrival of Hurricane Irma, the largest storm on record. While many others were inconvenienced or worse — and while it was far more difficult for island nations south of Florida — our losses were minor and we are thankful.
However, next year, for the 10th Annual Midwest, you bet I’ll be back!